Gretchen Fitzgerald, forester on the San Juan National Forest in Colorado, checks the health of an eight-year-old ponderosa pine that has regenerated naturally on burned slopes west of Vallecito Reservoir. Some of the national forest where natural regeneration is lacking across the reservoir behind her will be replanted in 2015. (U.S. Forest Service/Ann Bond)
Decades ago, ripe cones were plucked from the tops of conifer trees in the San Juan National Forest and sent to Nebraska for storage in a U.S. Forest Service nursery. This winter, tiny seeds from those cones have been sown in the nursery with the big mission of returning home to create new forests in southwestern Colorado.
Donations to the San Juan National Forest Plant-A-Tree Program will help return the little trees to their native environment in 2015, when 250 acres burned by the 72,000-acre Missionary Ridge Fire will be replanted.
“We’ll plant limber pine seedlings in the more rocky areas,” said San Juan National Forest Forester Gretchen Fitzgerald. “Douglas fir will be tucked into north- and east-facing slopes because they like cooler, moister conditions. Ponderosa pines can go just about anywhere; they’re very drought tolerant.” Read more »
A Christmas tree grove in Oregon.
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
With the holiday season upon us, many people across the United States are out and about shopping for the perfect Christmas tree to deck their halls with holiday cheer. Sales of cut Christmas trees remain a large part of the U.S. horticulture industry as Americans continue to uphold the holiday tradition of fresh, cut trees – from the White House to state capitals across the United States, the smell of pine is vibrant this time of year. Read more »